Research from Rand Europe reveals that sleep deprivation costs the UK £40 billion a year, which equates to 200,000 working days. Here, AXA PPP healthcare provides some top tips for employees to ensure they’re getting a good night’s kip.
Have you noticed that when you feel good about yourself, you work better? When you’re mentally well, you’re better at making the most of life. That doesn’t mean you’ll never experience any type of emotional problems, but it can mean that you’re able to deal with difficult or stressful situations more easily.
Sleep is essential to good mental wellness. A good night’s rest can make you feel refreshed, positive and able to cope with things better. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can feel moody and irritable – and over time this is likely to affect your relationships with people, your work and your mental wellbeing.
Top tip 1: Stay active during the day
Getting regular exercise during the day will help you to feel tired at night. Being active increases your metabolism and helps fight stress and anxiety, which in turn will improve your sleep. Try to exercise earlier in the day and avoid late-night workouts, as you need time to wind down and relax afterwards.
Top tip 2: Watch what you eat and drink
Don’t have a heavy or spicy meal just before going to bed, as your body needs time to digest the food. But don’t go to bed hungry – a light snack before bedtime is ideal. Try not to have coffee, black tea, or any other drinks that contain caffeine after dinner, as it will make it harder for you to get to sleep. A glass of wine may help you drift off, but alcohol can affect the quality of your sleep, making you more likely to wake up during the night.
Top tip 3: Make your bedroom more sleep-friendly
Create a calm sleeping environment by turning your bedroom into a dark, quiet, cool and comfortable haven – you may want to try black-out curtains, eye shades, or ear plugs. Remove any distractions that may keep you awake, and keep your bedroom free from computers, TVs and phones.
Top tip 4: Develop a bedtime ritual
Try to develop a relaxing night-time routine that prepares your body and mind for sleep. It could be taking a hot bath, reading a book, listening to calming music, or having a milky drink – but try to stay away from bright lights and heated arguments just before bedtime.
Top tip 5: Don’t toss and turn – get out of bed instead
If you can’t fall asleep after half an hour, get up and do something else instead – try something relaxing like reading or listening to music. Only go back to bed when you feel tired.
Top tip 6: Try stopping weekend lie-ins
Keeping a regular sleep schedule can help you get into a good sleeping routine. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day, even if you’re not feeling tired. Resist having naps during the day and don’t sleep in at the weekend.
Top tip 7: Keep a sleep diary
It can be difficult to work out why you have problems sleeping. Keeping a sleep diary can help you track when you fall asleep and wake up, how many times you wake up during the night and how rested you feel in the morning. After a week, reflect on your notes and try to work out what helps you sleep and what makes it worse. Download AXA PPP’s sleep diary on its Mindbuilding toolkit.
For more information on how to get a better night’s sleep, visit AXA PPP’s Business Health Centre at axappphealthcare.co.uk/uk-business/business-health-centre/mindbuilding/sleep-better/.